As a teacher, I am very fortunate to have 6 weeks of holidays over the Christmas period and Australian summer. People very regularly say ‘Oh, teachers are so lucky to have all these holidays’, and more often than not they actually mean ‘I can’t believe you have so many holidays, it’s not fair.’ (side note, my usual response is just a smile or a comment about how they should become a teacher then!)… BUT, what I actually think about holidays are ‘my goodness…how on earth am I going to occupy my time so that I don’t feel excruciatingly lonely?’
Don’t get me wrong, I am thoroughly thankful to have this time to get things done around the house and sort out appointments, etc, but in the back of my mind, all this free time is another huge reminder about the hard parts of being single. Conversations with colleagues usually find their way to discussing holiday plans… I wish with all of my heart that I could say that I had a partner to go away with, or kids to look after…but I don’t. So I respond with comments like ‘oh, a bit of gardening, cooking, relaxing…etc’.
The common factor of my holiday list is that most of the activities generally involve doing these things by myself because most of my friends do have that partner to go away with and/or those kids to look after. I have lots of wonderful friends, and I’m not saying that they ignore me, but the reality is that they can’t always spend time with me… just an honest observation, not a judgement.
This time last year I actually started the summer holidays extremely angry and in a horrible mood, which lingered around for weeks. I was so annoyed with myself that all of a sudden there wasn’t anyone that needed me any more (as the students did during the school term). Here is an excerpt from my journal this time last year:
“December 2014: So now it’s the holidays…I should be feeling excited! 6 whole weeks to do what I want and get paid for it, but for some reason I’m feeling sad. My purpose is teaching, that’s what I do and a huge part of who I am. But who am I when I’m on holidays?! I don’t have anything to do and I don’t even have anyone to do that with….everyone else partners and kids to spend the holidays with. It makes me feel sad and I just feel really, really lost. I usually look forward to the holidays. Hopefully it will just take a few days to get into the groove of things.”
Reading back through that makes me realise how far I have come this year with accepting my current life stage, accepting that God can use me regardless of my relationship status, and really letting myself believe that a relationship is not a reward for being a good person.
The big difference going into the holiday season this year is that I have a few things booked in (one being a leader on a Christian camp for teenagers), I’m looking forward to getting things done around the house, and I don’t feel so sad about being alone over the holidays. I’m choosing to focus on and celebrate what I do have, not get sad over what I don’t.
Merry Christmas xx